Iron Maiden Piece of Mind

Piece of Mind: Iron Maiden’s Metal Masterpiece

With the success of 1982’s Number of the Beast, one would think Iron Maiden would be hard pressed to follow it with an equal or better record, but they did just that with Piece of Mind.

Despite bringing in a new drummer in yet another personnel change, 1983’s Piece of Mindturned out to be an amazing album and it defined Maiden’s modern, mid-late 1980s sound.

The album was quickly recorded at Compass Point Studios in the Bahamas from January to March, 1983, and is the first to feature drummer Nicko McBrain after former skin-basher Clive Burr was ousted from Maiden in December, 1982.

Coming off the phenomenal Beast album and tour, the band was getting comfortable with each other as singer Bruce Dickinson had time to get fully adjusted to the workings of Iron Maiden. Dickinson had more influence on the songwriting, composing “Revelations”, while co-writing on “Flight of Icarus”, “Die with your Boots On”, and “Sun and Steel”.

“I think on this album, because Bruce has been in a band awhile and was also very involved with the writing, he’s more relaxed,” said bassist Steve Harris in a 1983 interview with Kevin Thompson for Artist Magazine. “So the vocal performance is tremendous. He’s so quick in the studio because his ear for pitch is so good – he just gets up there and bang, it retains a great live feel.”

Most of the songs were written at Hotel le Chalet in New Jersey during the hotel’s off-season, then recorded down in Nassau.

Certainly, Piece of Mind sets the mark for the “new Maiden” in terms of personnel and how the band sounds on record. It’s the first record of the great bunch that includes PowerslaveSomewhere in Time and Seventh Son of Seventh Son to have that clean, crisp, modern metal sound.

“I think it’s now becoming what Iron Maiden is all about, and we expect it’s going to develop from there,” said Harris at the time.

Iron Maiden World Piece Tour 1983

Sound of the Mind

The distinct sound of Piece of Mind is in no small part thanks to producer Martin “Black Night” Birch, who began working with the band on the Killers record. While Number of the Beast had a very doomy, dark feel to it (like it was recorded in a catacomb), Piece of Mind was very crisp and open.

“Martin has always added his expertise in the studio and his great ability at recording our sounds,” noted Harris. “We’ve only just come to this point in our drum and guitar sounds, which are exceptional now – it’s just a team growing up together.”

The album came together very quickly, with Harris noting “Where Eagles Dare” was recorded in two takes.

“Revelations” was a Dickinson song, that Harris feels comes off much better live than on the album. Same with “Flight of Icarus”, which was the first single off the album (it hit No.12 on the Billboard Rock Chart). Harris prefers it better live because it’s faster, and if he had his druthers, the band would have put more pace into it on the record, but Dickinson argued for a slower, more plodding beat.

Backwards Message on Piece of Mind

The backwards recording before “Still Life” was Maiden getting back at all the religious freaks who came down on the because of Number of the Beast. The recording is actually a drunken McBrain doing an impersonation of Idi Amin (leader of Uganda in the 1970s), so the accent is very thick. Played forwards its says: “What ho, said da t’ing wid da t’ree bonce. Don’t meddle wit t’ings you don’t understand.”

McBrain said the band had enough of being labelled as Satanic: “We were sick and tired of being labelled as Devil worshippers and all this bollocks by these fucking morons in the States, so we thought, ‘Right, you want to take the piss? We’ll show you how to take the bleeding piss, my son!’ And one of the boys taped me in the middle of this Idi Amin routine I used to do when I’d had a few drinks. I remember it distinctly ended with the words, ‘Don’t meddle wid t’ings yo don’t understand.’ We thought, if people were going to be stupid about this sort of thing, we might as well give them something to be really stupid about, you know?”

Another cool song on the album and very underrated, is “To Tame A Land”, which was based on the “Dune” novels by Frank Herbert. Interestingly, back in 1983, Harris said it’s the best song he’s ever written up to that point.

With Piece of Mind, Iron Maiden really came into their own and began a string of phenomenal records that carried on until 1990, when Adrian Smith left the band while in pre-production for “No Prayer for the Dying”.

Check out more of Cam Maxwell’s Rock ‘N Roll Insight.

Awesome Totally Awesome - Freaks & Weirdos Boutique
ATA - DTK

Awesome Dropping

Awesome Totally Awesome - Slayer Final World Tour 2018

Pho King Slayer

/
Slayer is starting their final tour ever, which means their final tour until they decide they need another couple of million in the bank, at which point they’ll have a reunion tour. Nevertheless, assuming this is the end, it’s also the end of one of the greatest cathartic battle cries ever: F***ING SLAYERRRRR!!!
UBER Chronicles

Uber Chronicles: Tuesday Morning Microagression

Mike was my fellow Uber passenger. He got out to help me into the vehicle. As he got back in, he told Bob, our driver, to hop to it! Bob thanked him for helping me get in.
Awesome Totally Awesome - DTK

How Ozzy Osbourne was Fired from Black Sabbath

It's safe to say Ozzy Osbourne was blindsided when he was unceremoniously fired from Black Sabbath.

Awesome Features

Awesome Totally Awesome The Mark

The Mark

Mark’s eyes widen, and he gets out of bed, opens the closet, then pulls down on the coat hanger in the back. The clothing rack drops into the floor and the back wall of the closet opens.
Awesome Totally Awesome Eminem

Kamikaze Fallout: Who Took the Biggest L from Eminem

The hip-hop community has been torn to shreds by its great white shark, Eminem, these past few weeks with the release of his newest album titled Kamikaze.
Awesome Totally Awesome - Venom

Venom, Suicide Squad, and the Rated R Risk: PG 13 Isn't Cutting It

Venom has problems. A startling criticism of a superhero movie rooted in the MCU but nonetheless an accurate one.

Awesome Trending

Awesome Totally Awesome Cliff Burton 5 Best Songs

The 5 Best Metallica Songs Co-Written by Cliff Burton

Revered and influential Metallica bassist Cliff Burton died 30 years ago today during the Master of Puppets Tour in Sweden. Burton helped write many of the great tracks from Metallica's first three albums. Here are 5 of the best songs Burton co-wrote.
Awesome Totally Awesome - Dom Kennedy

Gotta Love Dom: The Underrated Rapper has Built a Cult Following Without Selling Out

With the continuous influx of soulless, mumble rap, many of us are yearning for the good old days. Fortunately, there are a few rappers out there restoring our faith in the genre.
Awesome Totally Awesome - Supreme Box Hoodie Legit Check 101Four-Pins

Legit Check 101 Supreme: Box Logo Hoodies

The Supreme Box Logo (“BOGO”) Hoodie is one of the most iconic and sought Supreme pieces year in and year out. We’re here to provide you with a basic checklist that should apply to any BOGO Hoodie within the past 10 years.